The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Old English Physiologus, by Albert S. Cook

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: The Old English Physiologus

Author: Albert S. Cook

Release Date: December 30, 2004 [EBook #14529]

Language: English and Old English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by David Starner, Ben Beasley and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team

Yale Studies in English
Albert S. Cook, Editor
Old English Physiologus
Text and Prose Translation
Albert Stanburrough Cook
Professor of the English Language and Literature in Yale University
Verse Translation
James Hall Pitman
Fellow in English of Yale University
New Haven: Yale University Press
London: Humphrey Milford
Oxford University Press


The Old English Physiologus, or Bestiary, is a series of three brief poems, dealing with the mythical traits of a land-animal, a sea-beast, and a bird respectively, and deducing from them certain moral or religious lessons. These three creatures are selected from a much larger number treated in a work of the same name which was compiled at Alexandria before 140 B. C., originally in Greek, and afterwards translated into a variety of languages—into Latin before 431. The standard form of the Physiologus has 49 chapters, each dealing with a separate animal (sometimes imaginary) or other natural object, beginning with the lion, and ending with the ostrich; examples of these are the pelican, the eagle, the phoenix, the ant (cf. Prov. 6.6), the fox, the unicorn, and the salamander. In this standard text, the Old English poems are represented by chapters 16, 17, and 18, dealing in succession with the panther, a mythical sea-monster called the asp-turtle (usually denominated the whale), and the partridge. Of these three poems, the third is so fragmentary that little is left except eight lines of religious application, and four of exhortation by the poet, so that the outline of the poem, and especially the part descriptive of the partridge, must be conjecturally restored by reference to the treatment in the fuller versions, which are based upon Jer. 17. 11 (the texts drawn upon for the application in lines 5–11 are 2 Cor. 6. 17, 18; Isa. 55.7; Heb. 2. 10, 11).

It has been said: ‘With the exception of the Bible, there is perhaps no other book in all literature that has been more widely current in every cultivated tongue and among every class of people.’ Such currency might be illustrated from many English authors. Two passages from Elizabethan literature may serve as specimens—the one from Spenser, the other from Shakespeare. The former is from the Faerie Queene (1. 11.34):

At last she saw, where he upstarted brave
Out of the well, wherein he drenched lay;
As Eagle fresh out of the Ocean wave,
Where he hath left his plumes all hoary gray,
And deckt himselfe with feathers youthly gay,
Like Eyas hauke up mounts unto the skies,
His newly budded pineons to assay,
And marveiles at himselfe, still as he flies:
So new this new-borne knight to battell new did rise.

The other is from Hamlet (Laertes to the King):

To his good friends thus wide I’ll ope my arms;
And like the kind life-rendering pelican,
Repast them with my blood.[1]

However widely diffused, the symbolism exemplified by the Physiologus is peculiarly at home in the East. Thus Egypt symbolized the sun, with his death at night passing into a rebirth, by the phœnix, which, by a natural extension, came to signify the resurrection. And the Bible not only sends the sluggard to the ant, and bids men consider the lilies of the field, but with a large sweep commands (Job 12.7,8): ‘Ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee; or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee; and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.’

The text as here printed is extracted from my edition, The Old English Elenc, Phœnix, and Physiologus (Yale University Press, 1919), where a critical apparatus may be found; here it may be sufficient to say that Italic letters in square brackets denote my emendations, and Roman letters those of previous editors. The translations have not hitherto been published, and no complete ones are extant in any language, save those contained in Thorpe’s edition of the Codex Exoniensis, which appeared in 1842. The long conjectural passage in the Partridge is due wholly to Mr. Pitman.

A. S. C.
March 27, 1921.


The Panther

Monge sindongeond middangeard
unrīmu cynn,[þāra] þe wē æþelu ne magon
ryhte āreccannē rīm witan;
þæs wīde sindgeond wor[u]l[d] innan
5 fugla and dēorafoldhrērendras,
wornas widsceope,swā wæter bibūgeð
þisne beorhtan bōsm,brim grymetende,
sealtȳpa geswing.Wē bi sumum hȳrdon

wrǣtlīc[um] gecynd[e]wildra secgan,
10 fīrum frēamǣrne,feorlondum on,
eard weardian,ēðles nēotan,
æfter dūnscrafum.Is þæt dēor Pandher
bi noman hāten,þæs þe niþþa bear[n],

Of living creatures many are the kinds
Throughout the world—unnumbered, since no man
Can count their multitudes, nor rightly learn
The ways of their wild nature; wide they roam,
These beasts and birds, as far as ocean sets
A limit to the earth, embracing her
And all her sunny fields with salty seas
And toss of roaring billows.We have heard

From men of wider lore of one wild beast,
Wonderful dweller in a far-off land
Renowned of men, who loves his native glens
And dusky caverns. Him have wise men called

Many, yea numberless, are the tribes throughout the world whose natures we can not rightly expound nor their multitudes reckon, so immense are the swarms of birds and earth-treading animals wherever water, the roaring ocean, the surge of salt billows, encompasses the smiling bosom of earth.

We have heard about one marvelous kind of wild beast which inhabits, in lands far off, a domain renowned among men, rejoicing there in his home amid the mountain-caves. This beast is called panther, as the learned

wīsfæste weras,on gewritum cȳþa[ð]
15 bi þām ānstapan.Sē is ǣ[g]hwām frēond,

duguða ēstig,būtan dracan ānum;
þām hē in ealle tīdandwrāð leofaþ,
þurh yfla gehwylcþe hē geæfnan mæg.

Ðæt is wrǣtlīc dēor,wundrum scȳne,
20 hīwa gehwylces.Swā hæleð secgað,
gǣsthālge guman,þætte Iōsēphes
tunece wǣretelga gehwylces
blēom bregdende,þāra beorhtra gehwylc,
ǣghwæs ǣnlīcra,ōþrum līxte
25 dryhta bearnum,swā þæs dēores hīw,
blǣc, brigda gehwæs,beorhtra and scȳnra
wundrum līxeð,þætte wrǣtlīcra
ǣghwylc ōþrum,ǣnlīcra gīen
and fǣgerra,frætwum blīceð,
30 symle sellīcra.Hē hafað sundorgecynd,

The panther, and in books have told of him,
The solitary rover. He is kind,

A bounteous friend to every living thing
Save one alone, the dragon; but with him
The panther ever lives at enmity,
Employing every means within his power
To work him evil. Fair is he, full bright

And wonderful of hue. The holy scribes
Tell us how Joseph’s many-colored coat,
Gleaming with varying dyes of every shade,
Brilliant, resplendent, dazzled all men’s eyes
That looked upon it. So the panther’s hues
Shine altogether lovely, marvelous,
While each fair color in its beauty glows
Ever more rare and charming than the rest.

His wondrous character is mild, and free

among the children of men report in their books concerning that lonely wanderer.

He is a friend, bountiful in kindness, to every one save only the dragon; with him he always lives at enmity by means of every injury he can inflict.

He is a bewitching animal, marvelously beautiful with every color. Just as, according to men holy in spirit, Joseph’s coat was variegated with hues of every shade, each shining before the sons of men brighter and more perfect than another, so does the color of this beast blaze with every diversity, gleaming in wondrous wise so clear and fair that each tint is ever lovelier than the next, glows more enchanting in its splendor, more rare, more beauteous, and more strange.

He has a nature all his own, so gentle and so calm is

milde, gemetfæst.Hē is monþwǣre,
lufsum and lēoftæl:nele lāþes wiht
ǣ[ng]um geæfnanbūtan þām āttorsceaþan,
his fyrngeflitan,þe ic ǣr fore sægde.

35 Symle, fylle fægen,þonne fōddor þigeð,
æfter þām gereordumræste sēceð,
dȳgle stōweunder dūnscrafum;
ðǣr se þēo[d]wigaþrēonihta fæc
swifeð on swe[o]fote,slǣpe gebiesga[d].
40 Þonne ellenrōfūp āstondeð,
þrymme gewelga[d],on þone þriddan dæg,
snēome of slǣpe.Swēghlēoþor cymeð,
wōþa wynsumast,þurh þæs wildres mūð;
æfter pære stefnestenc ūt cymeð
45 of þām wongstede—wynsumra stēam,
swēttra and swīþra,swæcca gehwylcum,
wyrta blōstmumand wudublēdum,
eallum æþelīcraeorþan frætw[um].

From all disturbing passion. Gracious, kind,
And full of love, he meditates no harm
But to that venomous foe, as I have told,
His ancient enemy. Once he has rejoiced

His heart with feasting, straight he finds a nook
Hidden among dim caves, his resting-place.
There three nights’ space, in deepest slumber wrapped,
The people’s champion lies. Then, stout of heart,
The third day he arises fresh from sleep,
Endowed with glory. From the creature’s mouth
Issues a melody of sweetest strains;
And close upon the voice a balmy scent
Fills all the place—an incense lovelier,
Sweeter, and abler to perfume the air,
Than any odor of an earthly flower
Or scent of woodland fruit, more excellent

it. Kind, attractive, and friendly, he has no thought of doing harm to any save the envenomed foe, his ancient adversary of whom I spoke.

When, delighting in a feast, he has partaken of food, ever at the end of the meal he betakes himself to his resting-place, a hidden retreat among the mountain-caves; there the champion of his race, overcome by sleep, abandons himself to slumber for the space of three nights. Then the dauntless one, replenished with vigor, straightway arises from sleep when the third day has come. A melody, the most ravishing of strains, flows from the wild beast’s mouth; and, following the music, there issues a fragrance from the place—a fume more transporting, sweet, and strong than any odor whatever, than blossoms of plants or fruits of the forest, choicer

Þonne of ceastrumand cynestōlum
50 and of burgsalumbeornþrēat monig
farað foldwegumfolca þrȳþum;
ēoredcystum,ofestum gefȳsde,
dareðlācende—dēor [s]wā some—
æfter þǣre stefneon þone stenc farað.

55 Swā is Dryhten God,drēama Rǣdend,
eallum ēaðmēdeōþrum gesceaftum,
duguða gehwylcre,būtan dracan ānum,
āttres ordfruman—þæt is se ealda fēond
þone hē gesǣldein sūsla grund,
60 and gefetradefȳrnum tēagum,
biþeahte þrēanȳdum;and þȳ þriddan dæge
of dīgle ārās,þæs þe hē dēað fore ūs
þrēo niht þolade,Þēoden engla,
sigora Sellend.Þæt wæs swēte stenc,
65 wlitig and wynsum,geond woruld ealle.
Siþþan tō þām swiccesōðfæste men,

Than all this world’s adornments. Then from town
And palace, then from castle-hall, come forth
Along the roads great troops of hurrying men—
The very beasts come also; all press on
Toward that sweet odor, when the voice is stilled.

Such as this creature is the Lord our God,
Giver of joys, to all creation kind,
To men benignant, save alone to him,
The dragon, author of all wickedness,
Satan, the ancient adversary whom,
Fettered with fire, shackled with dire constraint,
Into the pit of torments God cast down.
The third day Christ arose from out the grave,
For three nights having suffered death for us,
He, Lord of angels, he in whom alone
Is hope of overcoming. Far and wide
The tidings spread, like perfume fresh and sweet,
Through all the world. Then to that fragrance thronged

than aught that clothes the earth with beauty. Thereupon from cities, courts, and castle-halls many companies of heroes flock along the highways of earth; the wielders of the spear press forward in hurrying throngs to that perfume—and so also do animals—when once the music has ceased.

Even so the Lord God, the Giver of joy, is gracious to all creatures, to every order of them, save only the dragon, the source of venom, that ancient enemy whom he bound in the abyss of torments; shackling him with fiery fetters, and loading him with dire constraints, he arose from darkness on the third day after he, the Lord of angels, the Bestower of victory, had for three nights endured death on our behalf. That was a sweet perfume throughout the world, winsome and entrancing. Henceforth,

on healfa gehwone,hēapum þrungon
geond ealne ymbhwyrfteorþan scēat[a].
Swā se snottra gecwæðSanctus Paulus:
70 ‘Monigfealde sindgeond middangeard
gōd ungnȳðeþe ūs tō giefe dǣleð
and tō feorhnereFæder ælmihtig,
and se ānga Hyhtealra gesceafta
uppe ge niþre.’Þæt is æþele stenc.

From every side all men whose hearts were true,
Throughout the regions of the circled earth.
Thus spoke the wise St. Paul: ‘In all the world
His gifts are many, which he gives to us
For our salvation with unstinting hand,
Almighty Father, he, the only Hope
Of all in heaven or here below on earth.’
This is that noble fragrance, rare and sweet,
Which draws all men to seek it from afar.

through the whole extent of earth’s regions, righteous men have streamed in multitudes from every side to that fragrance. As said the wise St. Paul: ‘Manifold over the world are the lavish bounties which the Father almighty, the Hope of all creatures above and below, bestows on us as grace and salvation.’ That, too, is a sweet odor.

The Whale (Asp-Turtle)

Nū ic fitte gēnymb fisca cynn
wille wōðcræftewordum cȳþan
þurh mōdgemynd,bi þām miclan hwale.
Sē bið unwillumoft gemēted,
5 frēcne and fer[h]ðgrim,fareðlācendum,
niþþa gehwylcum;þām is noma cenned,
fyr[ge]nstrēama geflotan,Fastitocalon.

Is þæs hīw gelīchrēofum stāne,
swylce wōriebi wædes ōfre,
10 sondbeorgum ymbseald,sǣrȳrica mǣst,
swā þæt wēnaþwǣglīþende
þæt hȳ on ēalond sumēagum wlīten;
and þonne gehȳd[i]aðhēahstefn scipu
tō þām unlondeoncyrrāpum,
15 s[ǣ]laþ sǣmearassundes æt ende,

Now will I spur again my wit, and use
Poetic skill to weave words into song,
Telling of one among the race of fish,
The great asp-turtle. Men who sail the sea
Often unwillingly encounter him,
Dread preyer on mankind. His name we know,
The ocean-swimmer, Fastitocalon.

Dun, like rough stone in color, as he floats
He seems a heaving bank of reedy grass
Along the shore, with rolling dunes behind,
So that sea-wanderers deem their gaze has found
An island. Boldly then their high-prowed ships
They moor with cables to that shore, a land
That is no land. Still floating on the waves,
Their ocean-coursers curvet at the marge;

This time I will with poetic art rehearse, by means of words and wit, a poem about a kind of fish, the great sea-monster which is often unwillingly met, terrible and cruel-hearted to seafarers, yea, to every man; this swimmer of the ocean-streams is known as the asp-turtle.

His appearance is like that of a rough boulder, as if there were tossing by the shore a great ocean-reedbank begirt with sand-dunes, so that seamen imagine they are gazing upon an island, and moor their high-prowed ships with cables to that false land, make fast the ocean-coursers at the sea’s end, and, bold of heart, climb up

and þonne in þæt ēglondūp gewītað
collenfer[h]þe;cēolas stondað
bi staþe fæstestrēame biwunden.
Ðonne gewīciaðwērigfer[h]ðe,
20 faroðlācende,frēcnes ne wēnað.

On þām ēalondeǣled weccað,
hēah fyr ǣlað.Hæleþ bēoþ on wynnum,
rēonigmōde,ræste gel[y]ste.
Þonne gefēleðfācnes cræftig
25 þæt him þā fērend onfæste wuniaþ,
wīc weardiað,wedres on luste,
ðonne semningaon sealtne wǣg
mid þā nōþeniþer gewīteþ,
gārsecges gæst,grund gesēceð,
30 and þonne in dēaðseledrence bifæsteð
scipu mid scealcum.Swā bið scinn[en]a þēaw,

dēofla wīse,þæt hī droht[i]ende
þurh dyrne meahtduguðe beswīcað,
and on teosu tyhtaþtilra dǣda,
35 wēmað on willan,þæt hȳ wraþe sēcen,

The weary-hearted sailors mount the isle,
And, free from thought of peril, there abide.

Elated, on the sands they build a fire,
A mounting blaze. There, light of heart, they sit—
No more discouraged—eager for sweet rest.
Then when the crafty fiend perceives that men,
Encamped upon him, making their abode,
Enjoy the gentle weather, suddenly
Under the salty waves he plunges down,
Straight to the bottom deep he drags his prey;
He, guest of ocean, in his watery haunts
Drowns ships and men, and fast imprisons them
Within the halls of death. Such is the way

Of demons, devils’ wiles: to hide their power,
And stealthily inveigle heedless men,
Inciting them against all worthy deeds,
And luring them to seek for help and comfort

on that island; the vessels stand by the beach, enringed by the flood. The weary-hearted sailors then encamp, dreaming not of peril.

On the island they start a fire, kindle a mounting flame. The dispirited heroes, eager for repose, are flushed with joy. Now when the cunning plotter feels that the seamen are firmly established upon him, and have settled down to enjoy the weather, the guest of ocean sinks without warning into the salt wave with his prey (?), and makes for the bottom, thus whelming ships and men in that abode of death.

Such is the way of demons, the wont of devils: they spend their lives in outwitting men by their secret power, inciting them to the corruption of good deeds, misguiding

frōfre tō fēondum,oþþæt hy fæste ðǣr
æt þām wǣrloganwīc gecēosað.
Þonne þæt gecnāweðof cwicsūsle
flāh fēond gemāh,þætte fīra gehwylc
40 hæleþa cynneson his hringe biþ
fæste gefēged,hē him feorgbona,
þurh slīþen searo,siþþan weorþeð,
wloncum and hēanumþe his willan hēr
firenum fremmað;mid þām hē fǣringa,
45 heoloþhelme biþeaht,helle sēceð,
gōda gēasne,grundlēasne wylm
under mistglōme,swā se micla hwæl
se þe bisenceðsǣlīþende
eorlas and ȳðmearas.Hē hafað ōþre gecynd,

50 wæterþisa wlonc,wrǣtlīcran gīen.
Þonne hine on holmehunger bysgað,
and þone āglǣcanǣtes lysteþ,
ðonne se mereweardmūð ontȳneð,

From unsuspected foes, until at last
They choose a dwelling with the faithless one.
Then, when the fiend, by crafty malice stirred,
From where hell’s torments bind him fast, perceives
That men are firmly set in his domain,
With treachery unspeakable he hastes
To snare and to destroy the lives of those,
Both proud and lowly, who in sin perform
His will on earth. Donning the mystic helm
Of darkness, with his prey he speeds to hell,
The place devoid of good—all misty gloom,
Where broods a sullen lake, black, bottomless,
Just as the monster, Fastitocalon,
Destroys seafarers, overwhelming men
And staunch-built ships. Another trait he has,

This proud sea-swimmer, still more marvelous.
When hunger grips the monster on the deep,
Making him long for food, his gaping mouth
The ocean-warder opens, stretching wide

them at will so that they seek help and support from fiends, until they end by making their fixed abode with the betrayer. When, from out his living torture, the crafty, malicious enemy perceives that any one is firmly settled within his domain, he proceeds, by his malignant wiles, to become the slayer of that man, be he rich or poor, who sinfully does his will; and, covered by his cap of darkness, suddenly betakes himself with them to hell, where naught of good is found, a bottomless abyss shrouded in misty gloom—like that monster which engulfs the ocean-traversing men and ships.'

This proud tosser of the waves has another and still more wonderful trait. When hunger plagues him on the deep, and the monster longs for food, this haunter of the sea opens his mouth, and sets his lips agape;

wīde weleras;cymeð wynsum stenc
55 of his innoþe,þætte ōþre þurh þone,
sǣfisca cynn,beswicen weorðaþ.
Swimmað sundhwateþǣr se swēta stenc
ūt gewīt[e]ð.Hī þǣr in farað,
unware weorude,oþþæt se wīda ceafl
60 gefylled bið;þonne fǣringa
ymbe þā herehūþehlemmeð tōgædre
grimme gōman.Swā biþ gumena gehwām

se þe oftost hisunwærlīce,
on þās lǣnan tīd,līf biscēawað:
65 lǣteð hine beswīcanþurh swētne stenc,
lēasne willan,þæt hē biþ leahtrum fāh
wið Wuldorcyning.Him se āwyrgda ongēan
æfter hinsīþehelle ontȳneð,
þām þe lēaslīcelīces wynne
70 ofer ferh[ð]gereahtfremedon on unrǣd.
Þonne se fǣcnain þām fæstenne
gebrōht hafað,bealwes cræftig,

His monstrous lips; and from his cavernous maw
Sends an entrancing odor. This sweet scent,
Deceiving other fishes, lures them on
In swiftly moving schools toward that fell place
Whence comes the perfume. There, unwary host,
They enter in, until the yawning mouth
Is filled to overflowing, when, at once,
Trapping their prey, the fearful jaws snap shut.

So, in this fleeting earthly time, each man
Who orders heedlessly his mortal life
Lets a sweet odor, some beguiling wish,
Entice him, so that in the eyes of God,
The King of glory, his iniquities
Make him abhorrent. After death for him
The all-accursed devil opens hell—
Opens for all who in their folly here
Let pleasures of the body overcome
Their spirits’ guidance. When the wily fiend
Into his hold beside the fiery lake

whereupon there issues a ravishing perfume from his inwards, by which other kinds of fish are beguiled. With lively motions they swim to where the sweet odor comes forth, and there enter in, a heedless host, until the wide gorge is full; then, in one instant, he snaps his fierce jaws together about the swarming prey.

Thus it is with any one who, in this fleeting time, full oft neglects to take heed to his life, and allows himself to be enticed by sweet fragrance, a lying lure, so that he becomes hostile to the King of glory by reason of his sins. The accursed one will, when they die, throw wide the doors of hell to those who, in their folly, have wrought the treacherous delights of the body, contrary to the wise guidance of the soul. When the deceiver, skilful in wrongdoing, hath brought into that fastness,

æt þām [ā]dwylme,þā þe him on cleofiað,
gyltum gehrodene,and ǣr georne his
75 in hira līfdagumlārum hȳrdon,
þonne he þā grimmangōman bihlemmeð,
æfter feorhcwale,fæste tōgædre,
helle hlinduru.Nāgon hwyrft nē swice,
ūtsīþ ǣfre,þā [þe] þǣr in cumað,
80 þon mā þe þā fiscas,faraðlācende,
of þæs hwæles fengehweorfan mōtan.

Forþon is eallinga . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

dryhtna Dryhtne, and ā dēoflum wiðsace
85 wordum and weorcum,þæt wē Wuldorcyning
gesēon mōton.Uton ā sibbe tō him,
on þās hwīlnan tīd,hǣlu sēcan,
þæt wē mid swā lēofnein lofe mōtan
tō wīdan feorewuldres nēotan.

With evil craft has led those erring ones
Who cleave to him, sore laden with their sins,
Those who in earthly life have hearkened well
To his instruction, after death close shut
He snaps those woful jaws, the gates of hell.
Whoever enters there has no relief,
Nor may he any more escape his doom
And thence depart, than can the swimming fish
Elude the monster. Therefore it is [best

And[2]] altogether [right for each of us
To serve and honor God,[2]] the Lord of lords,
And always in our every word and deed
To combat devils, that we may at last
Behold the King of glory. In this time
Of transitory things, then, let us seek
Peace and salvation from him, that we may
Rejoice for ever in so dear a Lord,
And praise his glory everlastingly.

the lake of fire, those that cleave to him and are laden with guilt, such as had eagerly followed his teachings in the days of their life, he then, after their death, snaps tight together his fierce jaws, the gates of hell. They who enter there have neither relief nor escape, no means of flight, any more than the fishes that swim the sea can escape from the clutch of the monster.

Therefore is it by all means [best for every one of us to serve[2]] the Lord of lords, and strive against devils with words and works, that so we may come to behold the King of glory. Let us ever, now in this fleeting time, seek from him grace and salvation, that so with the Beloved we may in worship enjoy the bliss of heaven for evermore.

The Partridge[3]

Hȳrde ic secgan gēnbi sumum fugle
wundorlīcne[5] . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
þæt word þe gecwæðwuldres Ealdor:
5 ‘In swā hwylce tiidswā gē mid trēowe tō mē
on hyge hweorfað,and gē hellfirena
sweartra geswīcað,swā ic symle tō ēow
mid siblufansōna gecyrre
þurh milde mōd;gē bēoð mē siþþan

About another creature have I heard
A wondrous [tale.] [There is] a bird [men call
The partridge. Strange is she, unlike all birds
In field or wood who brood upon their eggs,
Hatching their young. The partridge lays no eggs,
Nor builds a dwelling; but instead, she steals
The well-wrought nests of others. There she sits,
Warming a stranger brood, until at last
The eggs are hatched. But when the stolen chicks
Are fledged, they straightway fly away to seek
Their proper kin, and leave the partridge there
Forsaken. In such wise the devil works
To steal the souls of those whose youthful minds
Or foolish hearts in vain resist his wiles.
But when they reach maturer age, they see
They are true children of the Lord of lords.
Then they desert the lying fiend, and seek
Their rightful Father, who with open arms
Receives them, as he long since promised them.[7]]

Fair is that word the Lord of glory spoke:
‘In such time as you turn with faithful hearts
To me, and put away your hellish sins,
Abominable to me, then will I turn
To you in love for ever, for my heart
Is mild and gracious. Thenceforth you shall be

So, too, I have heard tell a wondrous [tale[4]] about a certain bird.[5] … fair the word[6] spoken by the King of glory: ‘At whatsoever time ye turn to me with faith in your soul, and forsake the black iniquities of hell, I will turn straightway to you with love, in the gentleness of my heart; and thenceforth ye shall be reckoned to

10 torhte, tīrēadge,talade and rīmde,
beorhte gebrōþoron bearna stǣl.’

Uton wē þȳ geornorGode ōliccan,
firene fēogan,friþes earnian,
duguðe tō Dryhtne,þenden ūs dæg scīne,
15 þæt swā æþelneeardwīca cyst
in wuldres wlitewunian mōtan.


Refulgent, glorious, numbered with the host
Of heaven, and, instead of children, called
Bright brethren of the Lord.’ Let us by this

Be taught to please God better, hating sin,
And strive to earn salvation from the Lord,
His full deliverance, so long as day
Shall shine upon us, that we may at last
Inhabit heavenly mansions, nobler far
Than earthly dwellings, gloriously bright.


me as glorious and renowned, as my illustrious brethren, yea, in the place of children.’

Let us therefore propitiate God with all zeal, abhor evil, and gain forgiveness and salvation from the Lord while for us the day still shines, so that thus we may, in glorious beauty, inhabit a dwelling excellent beyond compare. Finit.

Footnote 1: Alfred de Musset, in La Nuit de Mai, develops the image of the pelican through nearly thirty lines.
Footnote 2: Conjecturally supplied.
Footnote 3: The partridge (like the cuckoo) broods the eggs of other birds. When they are hatched and grown, they fly off to their true parents. So men may turn from the devil, who has wrongfully gained possession of them, to their heavenly Father, who will receive them as his children.
Footnote 4: Conjecturally supplied.
Footnote 5: Gap in the manuscript, probably of considerable length.
Footnote 6: Cf. 2 Cor. 6. 17, 18; Isa. 55. 7; Heb. 2. 10, 11.
Footnote 7: Conjecturally supplied, on the basis of other versions.

End of Project Gutenberg's The Old English Physiologus, by Albert S. Cook


***** This file should be named 14529-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by David Starner, Ben Beasley and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions
will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no
one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation
(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without
permission and without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules,
set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to
copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to
protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark.  Project
Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you
charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission.  If you
do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the
rules is very easy.  You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose
such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and
research.  They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do
practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.  Redistribution is
subject to the trademark license, especially commercial



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License (available with this file or online at

Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (,
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS' WITH NO OTHER

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.

Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need, is critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation web page at

Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Its 501(c)(3) letter is posted at  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at
809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887, email  Email contact links and up to date contact
information can be found at the Foundation's web site and official
page at

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director

Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including including checks, online payments and credit card
donations.  To donate, please visit:

Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic

Professor Michael S. Hart was the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For thirty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.